December 1922




Neutral IRA formed and led by Sean O’Hegarty and Florrie O’Donoghue.  Made up of pre-Truce IRA men who took neither side in Civil War.  It becomes involved in various peace moves.  (O’Donoghue claims a membership of 20,000.)


Hopkinson (1988), pg 185


A column of Meath Anti-Treaty men led by Paddy Mullaney is captured near Pike’s Bridge, Leixleip on the Dublin-Kildare border where one pro-Treaty soldier (Private Haran) is killed.  22 are taken prisoner.  Five are found to be deserters from the pro-Treaty army.  Six (including all five of the deserters) are subsequently executed on the 8th January.


Hopkinson (1988), pg 220; Dorney (2017), pg 165


Anti-Treaty forces attack village of Ballymakeera, Co Cork.


Hart (1998), pg 119


In England, the “Irish Free State Constitution Bill” and “Irish Free State (Consequential Provisions) Bill” receive royal assent.  The king also approved the appointment of Tim Healy as Governor-General designate of the Irish Free State. 


Macardle (1999), pg 820; Curran J M (1980), pg 263


The Dáil approves the Saorstát Éireann Act which ratifies the Constitution of the Irish Free State.  In British terms, the members of the Provisional Parliament met as the Lower House of the Parliament of the Irish Free State.  This House continued to designate itself as the Dáil.  No anti-Treaty deputy was present.  All deputies took the Oath of Allegiance but the Labour Party members took it under protest.  (Tom Johnson said that the oath would not restrict the Labour Party if and when the people chose to denounce the Treaty and change the constitution.) Curran says that the TDs took the oath on the 6th.


O'Farrell P (1997), pg xxiii; Macardle (1999), pg 820; Curran J M (1980), pg 264


The British king signs the proclamation announcing the adoption of the constitution and the Irish Free State (Saorstát Éireann) comes officially into being. At a meeting of the Dáil, (Curran says this was the first meeting of the Free State Parliament), Cosgrave is elected President of the Executive Council.  He nominated the other members of the Executive Council – each keeping the post they had in the cabinet of the Provisional Government while Cosgrave still kept Finance to himself.  Members were Mulcahy, O’Higgins, Blythe, MacNeill, McGrath and Fitzgerald.  O’Higgins was also vice-President.  Later in the day, nominations and elections to the Senate took place – the members included Oliver St John Gogarty; Andrew Jameson, John Bagwell, Sir Bryan Mahon, Sir Horace Plunkett, William Butler Yeats, Colonel Maurice Moore, Alice Stopford Green and James Douglas.  (Curran says that the fact that a sizable number of the Senate were Protestant and unionist showed the new government’s desire to reconcile them to the new order.)  Shortly after this date, the remaining British troops leave Dublin with the last ones leaving on Dec 17th.  (Macready had stayed in command of 5,000 troops.)


O'Farrell P (1997), pg xxiii; Curran J M (1980), pg 263;



Northern Ireland votes itself out of Free State by the stipulation that permitted this in the Treaty.  Craig says that as the Northern Government is not a party to the Treaty, they would refuse to nominate a member to the Boundary Commission which he held to be ultra vires. He also expressed the hope that real feelings of friendship might come about between the two communities in the northern state.  Comment


Augusteijn (2002), pg 235; Macardle (1999), pg 821; Phoenix (1994), pgs 266-267

Dec -07

GHQ of the pro-Treaty army sends a memo to all commands saying that the 1st and 2nd Northern Divisions (which had been previously amalgamated) were to be stood down and “communications are not to be sent to them until further notice”.


Gallagher (2003), pg 41


Anti-Treaty members of the Dublin No.1 Brigade ASU assassinate pro-Treaty TD Sean Hales outside the Ormond Hotel on Ormond Quay in Dublin and wound another TD (Padraig O'Maille).  Dorney says that one of the two men who carried out the killing was Owen Donnelly from Glasnevin.

The Executive Council meets in emergency session and express fears that this killing and wounding were the start of an assassination campaign as outlined in Lynch’s letter of the 27th November.  They agree to the execution of four jailed anti-Treaty leaders as they expected resignations from the Dáil.  O’Higgins expressed reservations - he had been best man at the wedding of the one of those it was proposed to execute (Rory O’Connor) – but he is persuaded and then he helps to persuade McGrath (who arrived late).  The decision is unanimous.  There is not even the formality of a drumhead court martial.


O’Donoghue (1986), pg 279; Hopkinson (1988), pg 190-191; Curran J M (1980), pg 265; Dorney (2017), pgs 215-218


The Irish News, responding to Craig’s statement on the Boundary Commission disagrees with his interpretation but goes on to say that it will have no effect on the destinies of perhaps two-thirds of northern nationalists. It went on to call for nationalist unity and advocated the Belfast nationalist preference for ‘a method of settlement by mutual agreement’.


Phoenix (1994), pg 268


Rory O'Connor (Monkstown, Co. Dublin); Liam Mellows (Wexford and Galway); Joe McKelvey (Stewardstown, Co. Tyrone) and Richard (Dick) Barrett (Ballineen, Co. Cork) are executed by pro-Treaty forces in Mountjoy after the cabinet had explicitly ordered the executions as a reprisal for the shootings the previous day.  More Detail 

O'Farrell P (1997), pg xxiii & 222 & 223; Hopkinson (1988), pg 191; Macardle (1999), pgs 822-823; Curran J M (1980), pg 266; Dorney (2017), pgs 216-218

Dec -09

Liam Lynch issues an order stating that “all Free State supporters are traitors and deserve the latter’s stark fate, therefore their houses must be destroyed at once”.  This led to numerous arson and other attacks on the homes of pro-Treaty supporters.  Between 10th December and April 1923, the Dublin anti-Treaty Brigade destroyed 28 civilian homes, six income tax offices and a number of hotels.

Dorney (2017), pgs 220 & 222


Anti-Treaty volunteers arrive at the house of pro-Treaty TD Sean McGarry in Fairview, Dublin to burn it down.  Despite meeting strong opposition from neighbours, they manage to burn it down.  McGarry’s seven year old son, Emmet, dies in the blaze. This same night, the house of Michael McDunphy, Assistant Secretary to the Government, in Clonliffe is subjected to an arson attack.  There were also arson and bomb attacks on the home of J.J. Walsh, the Postmaster General, on Jenny Wyse Power, the leader of the pro-Treaty Cumman na Saoire. 

Dorney (2017), pgs 220 & 221


The Free State Senate meets for the first time and James Campbell (Lord Glenavy) is elected chairman with only two dissenting votes.  One former loyalist states “The past is dead, not only for us but for this country.  We are assembled here no longer in a Nationalist or Unionist sense, but merely as members of the Senate.”  (Macardle says 9th.)


Curran J M (1980), pgs 264-265; Macardle (1999), pg 821


The home (offices?) of Chief State Solicitor M. A. Corrigan, in Dame St., Dublin is set on fire and, in January, his home in Leinster Road, Rathmines is blown up.  There is also an attempt this night to kill Richard Mulcahy at Kelly’s Corner in Dublin.

Dorney (2017), pg 221


Anti-Treaty forces attack and take Carrick-on-Suir.  They are led by Tom Barry and are about 100 strong.  They capture 107 rifles, 2 Lewis guns, a Crossly tender and two touring cars.  The pro-Treaty OC, Capt Balfe is captured but released unharmed after a few days. 

Hopkinson (1988), pg 209; O'Farrell P (1997), pg 142 & 143


Pro-Treaty Army posts at Callan, Mullinavat and Thomastown taken by anti-Treaty forces led by Tom Barry without a shot being fired.  (The Pro-Treaty O/C at Callan, Somers, hands over his post and 20 of his men go over to the Anti-Treaty side.) O’Farrell says 9th December. 

O’Donoghue (1986), pg 280; O'Farrell P (1997), pg 142 & 143


Last British soldiers leave Dublin.



The home of James Campbell (see December 11th) in Kimmage, Dublin is burnt by anti-Treaty volunteers.

Dorney (2017), pg 222


At the final meeting of the outgoing Derry City Council, the mayor, H C O’Doherty, accused Craig of disfranchising the minority and reducing them to the condition of serfs.


Phoenix (1994), pg 268


O/C of pro-Treaty forces in Kerry announces that four captured anti-Treaty men have been sentenced to death but that the executions will only be carried out if there is any further attacks on his men in the area.


Macardle (1999), pg 823.


Anti-Treatyites Patrick Bagnall (from Fairgreen, Co. Kildare); Patrick Nolan (from Rathbridge, Co. Kildare); Stephen White (from Abbey St, Kildare); Joseph Johnson (from Station Rd, Kildare); Patrick Mangan (from Fairgreen, Co. Kildare); James (or Joseph) O’Connor (from Bansha, Co. Tipperary) and Brian Moore (Rathbridge, Co. Kildare) are executed in the Curragh Camp.  Macardle says the seven were killed after being captured in a dug-out in Kildare.


O'Farrell P (1997), pgs 222 - 225; Macardle (1999), pg 823 & 984


Pro-Treaty soldier Patrick Fitzgerald is shot dead at a pub near Beggars Bush Barracks.  Seamus Dwyer, former pro-Treaty TD, is shot dead in his shop in Rathmines by Bobby Bonfield (QM and acting O/C of the 4th Battalion, Dublin anti-Treaty Brigade)

Dorney (2017), pg 224


Writing to De Valera, Liam Lynch says “what I hope is to bring the enemy to bankruptcy and make it impossible for a single Government Department to function”

Dorney (2017), pg 6 & 142


In what could have been a reprisal for the killing of Seamus Dwyer (see 20th December), an anti-Treaty volunteer, Francis Lawlor, is taken from his home in Ranelagh, Dublin and brought to Milltown in south Dublin and shot dead.  (His body is dumped at Orwell Road.)

Dorney (2017), pgs 1-2 and 224-225


Anti-Treatyites John Murphy (from Bishopslough, Co. Kilkenny) and John Phelan (from Committee, Kilkenny) are executed in Kilkenny.  (O’Farrell says these two men were executed on 29th Dec 1923 but this is probably incorrect.)


Macardle (1999), pg 984; O'Farrell P (1997), pg 224


Craig supplied with information that between 1 April and 31 December 1922, 1,685 men left [the six counties] to join the Free State army of whom 246 returned.  Some 30 Protestants joined the Free State army.


McDermott (2001), pg 275


In answer to the pro-Treaty argument, that the Treaty was the will of the people, an anti-Treaty handbill reads “if you had answered the will of the people in 1914 you would have gone to the Flanders.  If you had answered the will of the people in Easter Week, you would have lynched Patrick Pearse”.

Dorney (2017), pg 148


IRB revived by pro-Treaty members of GHQ in order to stop it being taken over by Anti-Treatyites (but excluded Liam Tobin and other members of Collins’s old Intelligence/Squad network).


Hopkinson (1988), pg 53



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